Greek FM warns that the nation cannot suffer any more austerity
‘Greeks cannot suffer more austerity’
Tue, 17 Sep 2013 09:51:57 GMT
Greece’s Foreign Minister Evangelos Venizelos has warned that the Greek population cannot suffer more austerity cuts, amid discussions of an additional third bailout package.
Venizelos’ remarks came during an interview with Italian news agency ANSA published on Tuesday.
“We cannot think about new cuts to pensions and wages. From 2010 to 2012, Greek incomes have fallen by over 35 per cent, something that is unique and unacceptable during peace times,” said Venizelos.
Since 2010, Greece has received two bailouts amounting to 250 billion euros (USD 350 billion) in international loans, however, the country’s economy is still struggling.
Last month, both Greek and German officials admitted that an additional third bailout package at the amount of around 10 billion euros would be necessary in order to plug any funding shortfall over 2014-2016.
Venizelos also called for more help from European partners and said, “We cannot accept to have governments with decision powers and other states who are forced to comply to avoid bankruptcy or disasters for the economy and the banks.”
“We need new forms of solidarity, new forms of redistribution within the eurozone,” he added.
The foreign minister’s remarks came as tens of thousands of Greeks began five-day strikes on September 16 against forced transfers and dismissals of thousands of public workers.
The government plans to transfer 25,000 public workers by the end of this year to a labor pool, where workers will receive reduced wages until they are relocated to another post or laid off.
In addition to the forced transfers, another 15,000 public workers are to be fired by the end of 2014.
The government’s moves are part of an overhaul of the public sector demanded by the troika of international lenders — the European Union (EU), the European Central Bank, and the International Monetary Fund — to release financial aid to the country.
The country is suffering its sixth year of recession with public debt standing at 160 percent of its gross national product as well as a staggering 27.9 percent of Greeks unemployed.